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Home Information Packs & Energy-Rated Windows

19 October 2007

Here Eurocell Profiles Ltd, examines how the new Home Information Packs will make energy-rated windows a crucial factor in selling a home - and how it can create new sales opportunities for fabricators.

“It had to happen, didn’t it? The Government had been talking about it for long enough and so it was that Home Information Packs were introduced earlier this year on four bedroom properties. More recently, the scheme was extended to three bedroom homes and the intention is to make HIPs mandatory on all houses before the end of this year.

What this means is that anyone selling a house in England or Wales that has more than three bedrooms is now required to have a HIP in place before they put it on the market. The idea behind HIPs is that it ensures that important information, such as sales statements, evidence of title, new homes warranty, searches and Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are provided at the beginning of the legal process, creating a faster, more efficient home buying and selling system.

That’s the theory anyway, although many estate agents are reporting that the number of three and four bedroom homes coming onto the market is down significantly, which indicates that people are either confused about the whole subject, or unwilling to pay around £500 for a HIP, or both. Something will have to give because people still want to move and, before the end of the year, all homes will require a HIP. The simple fact is that we are all going to have to get used to this new piece of legislation.

Of course, every cloud has a silver lining, although in this case it takes the form of a multi coloured EPC certificate. For fabricators looking for new sales opportunities, this element of the HIP will result in a market already primed for energy rated windows as organisations such as the Energy Trust are already making a link between a home’s energy rating and a property’s selling price.

Bearing in mind that if HIPs are being extended to all homes, it is worth pointing out to owners of two bedroom properties that it pays to upgrade to an energy rated window now. This means that when HIPs are mandatory for all properties, the measures that homeowners have taken to improve energy efficiency, will gain a higher rating on the A to G Energy Performance Certificate. In real terms, this means two things.

Firstly, that energy-rated windows make perfect sense even if they decide not to move, because it reduces fuel bills. This is because around 25% of heat is lost through the windows and increasing the thermal efficiency means saving on heating bills.

When a homeowner does decide to sell their house, the fact that they have energy rated windows should also help the sale process. Any measures that homeowners can take to improve the energy efficiency of their property will also mean lower energy bills for the new owners, making homes more attractive to potential purchasers.

Research already shows that around 45 per cent of people are willing to pay more for a home that is environmentally friendly, in fact up to £10,000 more. Even more interesting is that nearly three quarters of people say they would steer clear of buying a poorly insulated or poorly glazed home.

We are already helping many fabricators to achieve an energy rating on their windows as they see this shift in the market to more environmentally conscious homeowners. However, as a company we also realise that fabricators need to remain cost-effective when offering an energy rated window and this is why we are developing a new more cost effective ‘A’ rated window system. This new window is designed with two slim-line profiles based on the Ovolo and Chamfered profile which gives it excellent sight lines. When we launch this window early next year it will mean we have one of the lowest cost ‘A’ rated windows in the market as we have addressed the previous issues of added complexity and cost during the fabrication process, which is often overlooked by some suppliers in the industry. This meant the incremental cost of fabricating an ‘A’ rated window over a ‘C’ rated window was often prohibitive.

Focusing on these costly areas has meant simplifying or re-designing the components to make the fabrication process of our ‘A’ rated windows much more cost effective. Interestingly, in an effort to further improve our recycling levels we use, wherever possible, re-ground material to reinforce the strength of this innovative new window, which will be another selling point to environmental conscious homeowners or fabricators supplying into the local authority and new build markets. By doing this we also avoid the need to use steel reinforcing on the outside, which can potentially lead to cold bridging.

The huge interest and awareness of ‘green’ issues in the past few months has meant that many fabricators are showcasing the energy efficient benefits of their products and many our customers have already been through the process of gaining an energy rating on their products. This means that they can now label their windows with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), similar to what you see on white goods in the home. We are keen to support any of our fabricators with design and technical expertise to help them gain this type of marketing advantage and our new window will soon mean the margins are even more attractive.

Consumers also recognise this energy rated labelling system as it is already widely used on fridges, freezers and washing machines and many homeowners, when faced with a choice of a window with or without an energy rating, would be more likely to trade up to the energy efficient, environmentally-friendly option especially since the introduction of HIPs.

HIPs look set to create huge opportunities for fabricators to grow their businesses by offering energy rated windows. By working together to create a cost effective, energy efficient, attractive products we can help homeowners create more sustainable homes and with it improve the energy performance levels required by HIPs.

For more information fill in our contact form here or contact Eurocell on 0300 333 6525.

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